Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

hope of survival. Overshadowed by the knowledge of
what was ahead of us, I became increasingly con-
vinced that a humble soldier holding up a blistered
foot could have greater dignity than a blustering
Corps Commander.

That night we were in huts among some wooded
hills. I can remember how we had supper out in the
moonlight, sitting round a brazier with plates of
ration stew on our knees. The wind was from the east
and we could hear the huge bombardment up at
Arras. Brown and leafless, the sombre woods hemmed
us in. Soon the beeches would be swaying and quiver-
ing with the lovely miracle of spring. How many of us
will return to that, I wondered, forgetting my hatred
of the War in a memory of all that April had ever
meant for me. . . .

On Good Friday morning I woke with sunshine
streaming in at the door and broad Scots being
shouted by some Cameronians in the next hut. Some-
one was practising the bagpipes at the edge of the
wood, and a mule contributed a short solo from the
Transport Lines.

On Saturday afternoon we came to Saulty, which
was only ten miles from Arras and contained copious
indications of the Offensive, in the form of ammuni-
tion and food dumps and the tents of a Casualty
Clearing Station. A large Y.M.C.A. canteen glad-
dened the rank and file, and I sent my servant there
to buy a pack full of Woodbines for an emergency
which was a certainty. Canteens and estamineis would
be remote fantasies when we were in the devastated
area. Twelve dozen packets of Woodbines in a pale
green cardboard box were all that I could store up